The Dodge City Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Dodge City Community College to celebrate the grand opening of the new Student Activity Center on Monday at 5:30 p.m. 

There will be an open house event, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in which the public will be invited to tour the facility, participate in yard games and giveaways and a limited amount of food will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Ground was broken on the facility in August of 2014 and since then, it has been an eagerly awaited addition to the growing college campus.

"We expect [the Student Activity Center] to be the thriving hub of our campus." Duane Ross, DC3 Foundation board chairman said. "It will enhance student recruitment, build community, boost school spirit, promote student success through fitness and well-being and improve recruitment and retention of faculty, administrators and staff."

In addition to providing a state-of-the art recreation and fitness center for students and community members, the Student Activity Center will double as a FEMA-approved tornado shelter, benefiting the community in emergency weather conditions. According to DC3 director of facilities and operations, Tim Riekenberg, the tornado shelter can safely hold 5,000 people at one time and can be accessed via the west entrance to the building.

"Since the Student Activity Center is also a tornado shelter for the community, it will be a comfort for those residents who need such a resource in their planning for an emergency," Dodge City public information director Jane Longmeyer said.

The new Student Activity Center is also expected to provide more on-campus job opportunities for students of DC3.

"More students in the community will help fill part-time jobs that are available as well as have a positive impact on the economy," Longmeyer said.

"It will have a major impact on recruiting," said Casey Malek, DC3 athletics director. "The three sports, volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball, will have a brand-new facility to showcase to recruits that also includes each sport’s own locker room. The student body will now be able to walk over from housing to watch the games, providing a much better atmosphere.

"Our players will not have to drive to practice or games. These are all things that we can offer to potential recruits."

Having a home-court atmosphere was cited by Morris Reeves, DC3 Trustee, as being a major benefit to both the students and the community.

"We’re excited to showcase our athletic teams in this new facility," said Harold Nolte, DCCC president. 

Other benefits of the Student Activity Center include increasing student retention as well as academic success rates.

"Research shows that students who regularly participate in campus recreation are more likely to stay in college, graduate at higher rates, earn higher GPA’s and have an overall more satisfying college experience," Ross said.

Going forward, the DC3 Foundation office plans to continue adding on to the Student Activity Center.

"While we are pleased with the Student Activities Center where it is today, there is always more to be done," Ross said. "Our goal is to continue to create spaces for other student activities, include a wellness center, an aerobics room, and generally provide other social and physical opportunities for students and the community."

"This beautiful new facility is going to help our college to grow and it is a phenomenal opportunity for our campus and the community," Nolte said. "The Student Activity Center is sure to be a focal point of our campus for years to come."

The ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house are open to all who would like to attend; there are no reservations required. For more information contact Andrea Loll at 620-227-9253 or be email at aloll@dc3.edu.